Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Photograph as Document



To document is to record. Documentary photography, therefore, can be defined as the practice of photography that is based on the idea that the photograph is a record.

As a record, the photograph gets its authority from, among others, what is called the pro-photographic event (the event was there; it happened) effect and I was there (the photographer) effect. Furthermore, it also gets its authority from the sense of authenticiy it derives from what is called the indexical effect of conjectures of cirumstance. A photograph, in other words, is a "meeting place" or rendesvous of things such as the subject matter, framing, light, characteristics of the lens, the chemical and/or digital processing, etc.

Summarized from Wells, Liz (ed.) (2004) Photography: A Critical Introduction (3rd Ed.), London: Routledge, pp. 17 - 18.

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